American Art on Paper: Impressions of the Southwest and Mexico

October 14, 2009—April 11, 2010

Location: Nelson-Atkins Building, Gallery 214

The American Southwest and Mexico have long held an allure for both visiting and local artists. During the first half of the 20th century, many of the artists whose work appears in this focused exhibition traveled to New Mexico, Arizona, California and Mexico in search of inspiration, while others created impressions of the dynamic landscape and culture from native perspectives. Brought to life through lithographs, woodcuts, etchings and pastels, the subjects are as varied as the backgrounds, experiences and motives of the artists.

Scenes of everyday life, labor, rituals and popular entertainment; iconic landscapes; and emblematic architecture and portraiture highlight facets of life in the southwestern corner of the United States and throughout Mexico. Largely composed of prints produced in multiples—allowing for easier and broader dissemination than paintings—the art in this installation is evidence of the widespread popularity of such imagery in the early 20th century.

Many of these prints came to the Nelson-Atkins in the mid-1930s through the generosity of the Woodcut Society, an organization dedicated to promoting the medium, founded in 1932 by H. Alfred Fowler, a Kansas City grain dealer and print connoisseur.


This installation is underwritten by Richard and Jane Bruening.

Image: David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974. Zapata, ca. 1930. Lithograph on paper. Gift of Richard S. Davis, 52-32.
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